New Vitae Wellness Foundation was pleased to host Mr. Jeff Gould for a no-cost community learning experience on June 24 th, 2021. Jeff is a certified Interventionist and the founder of Labor of Love Intervention Services.  He is also a nationwide advocate for traumatic brain injury and the author of “A
Life Concussed,” a memoir that details the challenges he experienced following two childhood brain injuries.  The training focused on sharing potential outcomes associated with undiagnosed brain injuries and the functional, emotional, and other living challenges that can be part of managing the aftermath of these types of injuries.  Participants had the option of receiving CEU’s from the Pennsylvania National Association of Social Workers and the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB).

Mr. Gould began the conversation by discussing the frustrations experienced by a family whose young son had hit his head.  The child, named Sawyer, received a clean bill of health and normal MRI results, but his parents noted behavioral changes that did not dissipate after the injury.  The family watched their son’s personality change, with increased clinginess, more crying spells, and new angry behaviors that included hitting his sister.  Jeff used the story as a single example of how undiagnosed brain trauma can result in long- and short-term behavior changes that require additional support and treatment.

Jeff also detailed his own history of brain injury and subsequent addictive behaviors.  Jeff’s family includes a number of people who are well-educated, bright and hold multiple doctorates.  He felt as if his own path in life would include multiple scholastic achievements, but these expectations were disrupted following two serious brain injuries at the ages of 11 and 13.  Shortly after, he began to experience morbid visions, night terrors and believed that he was possessed for several years. Jeff described “adjusting” to these symptoms and living with “dark things.”  He turned to substance use and was unable to manage his own finances, living on the streets before finally securing help that would begin to change the way he saw his own health and wellbeing.

To further exemplify the difficulties associated with brain injury, Jeff shared his own recent brain imaging results, showing continued oxygen deprivation in spite of injuries that occurred over 20 years ago.  “People assume…they’re just being difficult,” Jeff said, describing individuals living with those who have experienced brain injuries.  However, these reactions to physical trauma are real and can have devastating effects on the individual, families, and the larger community.  Comorbidity with substance abuse problems and endocrine system difficulties can further complicate the healing process post-brain injury.  Jeff suggested the value of a personalized treatment plan that can include nutrition changes, anti-inflammatory therapies, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and other means to stimulate
cognitive repair and increase oxygen-rich blood flow for its healing properties.

Mr. Gould concluded the conversation by answering audience questions and offering ideas for healing following a brain injury.  His current work allows him to draw on his own experiences and assist individuals in recovery.  He hopes to continue to offer new ideas and help others develop their skills in
order to ensure positive outcomes in spite of past trauma.

View the presentation here.

New Vitae Wellness Foundation wishes to thank Jeff for this fascinating and enlightening conversation.
Thank you to our community for participating in the discussion!